Map of Tonto Creek drowning Dec. 9, 2019

Robert George Petitte, 69, reportedly drove his truck into Tonto Creek Friday night where it got stuck. Deputies recovered his body 200 yards downstream.

The Gila County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the fourth death in Tonto Creek in just over a week.

On Saturday, the sheriff’s office removed Robert George Petitte’s body from the creek, just outside of Gisela.

Petitte, 69, of Gisela, reportedly drove his truck into the creek Friday night. The truck got stuck in the creek at the second crossing near Tonto Creek Shores.

On Saturday, around 1 p.m., 911 dispatchers received a call of a vehicle stuck in the creek.

Deputies responded and began to search the area with local residents. Roughly 200 yards downstream, Petitte’s body was located on an island in the creek, according to a press release.

The Gila County Sheriff’s Office dive team recovered the body.

Sgt. Dennis Newman said it appears Petitte was heading home after spending time at a neighbor’s house. Petitte’s daughter told Newman she has “not a clue why he took the route he did.”

The county does not maintain the road or crossing, therefor there were no barricades up Newman said.

Sheriff J. Adam Shepherd thanked the Gisela Volunteer Fire Department and AMR Ambulance for their assistance.

Shepherd reminded motorists not to cross flooded areas and to “remember the inherent dangers of moving water.”

“This has been a tragic week in the Tonto Creek. Our thoughts are with the families of those who have passed,” he said.

On Nov. 29, a truck, carrying a family of nine, got stuck in the creek near Tonto Basin. Deputies have recovered the body of two children and are still looking for the body of a third child. Six others in the truck survived.

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